|| July 05, 2003
|| Teatro Cervantes Malaga, Spain
Touring with what many observers concluded was their strongest album for many years, the beastly Crim appeared to be in buoyant health as they played Europe, but as we all know, appearances can be deceptive. ďLet Me remind you one more time, please donít take a picture. Especially of himĒ says Adrian after a truly blazing Level Five.
Frippís aversion to flash photography had culminated in him repositioning his rig so that he was almost facing the band rather than have the audience in his sight-lines. Despite worries in his diary about the cumulative effect that all of this was having upon his playing and that of the group, Crimson still turn in a powerful performance.
True, Vrooom is somewhat tentative but an astringent rendition of Dinosaur, a cavernous-sounding PTBII (complete with sampled thunder) and a glistening Gunn solo during Deception provide plenty in way of compensation. The further into the gig you get the better the vibe between the musicians. Pretty much everything from Happy really cooks and in the case of Dangerous Curves seems to go beyond anything previously attempted to date.
Whatever reservations RF might have had about the concert one eyewitness reports that at the end of the evening ďhe went out from the darkness of the stage and applauded to everybody, to all the audience, as a farewell of a good performance, which is a not usual attitude on Mr. Fripp, like you know very well." Thanks to Jose Correa Caro and his 17 year old son who requested this concert be made available.
All previews are MP3 192kbps
Adrian Belew - Guitar, Voice, Words
Robert Fripp - Guitar
Trey Gunn - Touch Guitar
Pat Mastelotto - Electric and Acoustic Percussions
Audio Source: Board Recording
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Band Member Diaries
Sat., Jul 5, 2003
Written by Robert Fripp
Hotel Acceptable, Malaga.
A reasonably good night's sleep for a bus ride, rising at 10.05.
Bump bump bump bump.
Arrived at the hotel and, following a debate between MJK Tour Manager & the reception, we got keys at 12.05.
I am disheartened by last night, and particularly by its implications.
15.16 These are words beginning with d this time -- disheartened, dispirited.
The good news is -- at 15.00 UK time (44 minutes from now) pal Nick Beggs is getting married. Good thoughts fly to the present & about-to-be-becoming Beggs.
15.43 Caf»-Bar Cheers In Square By Hotel.
In earlier years of touring Europe, on desperate days, I would head out of our cheap & cheerless hotel/s ASAP & head for the centre of town. There would always be a church, perhaps even a cathedral, under which I might sit with notebook, caf» au lait/con leche/latte, gather myself and reflect on present & possible futures.
Now, sitting here twenty-three years later, one such small event springs to mind. The League of Gentlemen were in Rouen. I hurtled into town, away from our cheap hotel, and sat under the cathedral in wonder. Then, walking down the street away from the cathedral, I found a beautiful church. It was faced by an apartment building opposite. As I looked up at the apartment building, wondering how wonderful it would be to live there, with such a view! a student-type vehicle of the rusty & old kind drove up and parked at the kerbside, right by where I was standing. Two young men & a young woman got out and asked Freep Freep? you are Freep? and invited me in for coffee. They didn't speak English, my French was less than that, and it didn't matter. A wonderful small moment of common humanity.
So, here I am once more. What am I doing here? What do I feel I am accomplishing? Is there anything of value in what I do?
The first question may or may not contain its answer (and I know it does), but simply asking it of myself provides a direct personal answer: I am here to play music. The band is superb, personally, professionally, musically. The on-the-road production & organisation is the finest we've had. We are visiting & revisiting many wonderful places & cities, playing to supportive audiences. The hotels and traveling are of a higher standard than usual for a Happy Gigster. We're not getting paid huge amounts, but for a working musician it is quite acceptable. Against this, I miss my Wife & home terribly, DGM HQ is on hold for several key decisions & projects until my return. All of this is possible, providing one thing: there is satisfaction in the music. The music sustains it all. However beautiful the cities, however comfortable the hotels, however supportive the management, however great the band, unless the performance satisfies - the rest becomes impossible.
If I were to be paid huge sums of money to do this, would that make it better? Regrettably, not quite. And, to put this in perspective, a one-month tour supporting Joe Satriani & Dream Theater last July (Crimson were recording) would have paid me as much as the total for this year's Crim touring so far.
A major weight for me is the sense of responsibility I feel towards Crim. Crimson aspires to a standard that, many evenings, we are not meeting. Professionally, most of the shows are "good shows". Ade stomps, Pat keeps going superbly, Trey does lots of things all at once. They are great to watch. Ade's sense of fun is contagious, Pat's enjoyment & energy spreads, Trey's face is a treat when things go wrong. I sit on the side, increasingly hiding, and attempting to protect myself, from a kind of attention that does me damage.
The overall Crimson conceptual framework, developed over many years, continues to hold up; and has even become stronger now that the musical view is broader. The internal consistency is there to be seen or not. The band continues to be an experience. On good night, it embodies a rare power.
My playing is often not worthy of the musical company I am keeping, nor the Greater Crim. There are exceptions - Soundscapes provide something that the band would not otherwise deliver: they carry a particular kind of intent. The slab metal solo on Facts Of Life slices away. The standard of playing required for the fast lines in Larks' IV and Frame By Frame requires a level of constant practising that obviates lots of leisure time on the road, and places an ongoing demand upon me in performance. This is part of the reason they are included in the repertoire: to set a standard & challenge below which it is not possible to fall.
But crossing The Great Divide - with people shooting at you as you set off, make the crossing, and attempt to land on the other side - has become increasingly hazardous. I am afraid I am very close to abandoning the attempt. As when riding to dinner, in a van in Tokyo this April with Crims and Charlie Hewitt, I recognise & acknowledge that I am in the wrong line of work. The next step is for this to be addressed.
Looking over the top of the Powerbook, to the physical embodiment of a faith that established itself throughout Europe, what I see gives me strength and hope. To climb onstage and play music this evening will be, for me, the triumph of hope over experience.
00.54 Crimbus Outside Venue, Malaga.
Soundscapes were born in Malaga at 21.46 and assassinated at 21.50.
The support act went on late because of a difficult discussion between KC Tour Production, venue & promoter. The venue was not prepared to act on the no-photo injunction. The question of how-next -to-proceed delayed Soundscapes by 16 minutes. Once the ground rules were agreed, the support act went on. Then, hope and experience embraced.
Something changed for me at tonight's show. Performance has now been spoiled to a degree I have not known before. Much of this is cumulative. At last, eventually, the water has boiled.
The intent of the camera-person in Valencia did me damage. Today, for the first time ever, my onstage placement oriented me towards Pat & deliberately excluded the audience from my active engagement. This made my performance possible, and my playing "easier". The band was informed beforehand: if there had been a flash, Fripp would have left the stage. Although there were no flashes during the performance, the flashes outside the stage door showed that cameras had been in the venue.
Clearly, it's time for me to do something else. As a player, I walk onstage to engage the audience. Tonight, for the first time, I walked on stage to dis-engage the audience. What a pity.
But otherwise, in conventional terms, a supportive audience who appeared to hover, waiting for cues & generous when allowed to be.
Power/Avant-Metal, Thu., Jan 3, 2008
Written by DeVito
King Crimson has always been a metal band, which no one seems to want to acknowledge. The í03 Gunn/Mastelotto/Belew/Fripp quartet ranks with the í74 Wetton/Bruford/Cross/Fripp quartet as the most powerful of the Crimson assemblies. Iím sorry this band broke up, but Iím hoping (as opposed, I hope, to expecting [if expectation is a prison, what is hope?) that the forthcoming quintet lineup will embrace and build on the power generated by this band.
Iím now listening to this concert straight through for the second time. The energy, joy, and power of the music are irresistable -- during "Facts of Life" I had to take the headphones off and blast the music through the speakers.
I hesitantly, if arrogantly, offer a suggestion to the next Crimson lineup: Forget about doing studio recordings; donít waste your time and energy. Just start gigging, record everything, and release the best of the recordings. Once the band hits its stride, start putting the complete concerts up for download. Anyway, just my two cents.
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